Chapter 11.01
PARK USE RULES

Sections:

11.01.010    Purpose.

11.01.020    Definitions.

11.01.030    Rules of conduct.

11.01.040    Administrative regulations.

11.01.045    Event and temporary use permits.

11.01.050    Variance.

11.01.060    Interpretation.

11.01.070    Repealed.

11.01.080    Repealed.

11.01.090    Repealed.

11.01.010 Purpose.

A. The city council determines it appropriate to set reasonable time, place and manner restrictions for use of parks in order to accommodate and balance a variety of public interests, including protected speech.

B. Parks should be open and accessible to enable persons to enjoy these assets.

C. These rules and regulations are designed and intended to accommodate these important public interests: (1) maintaining the use of parks for public enjoyment and other public purposes (temporary events, etc.); (2) maintaining the use of parks for safe, efficient and reasonably unimpeded use and travel by persons who are infirm, elderly or disabled and to accommodate assistance devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and similar devices; (3) protecting the city’s investment in infrastructure, including parks, designed to promote tourism and economic development; (4) assisting cleaning and maintenance of parks; (5) preserving the safety and aesthetic appearance of public places as inviting areas for pedestrians, and avoiding having parks cluttered with different structures; and (6) providing an opportunity for a diversity of activities, views, or opinions.

D. Without reasonable limits, certain activities effectively and unreasonably take over substantial portions of a park and substantially interfere with free, open and broad use by various groups and individuals, and during events, can create safety issues.

E. Having rules in place serves the important function of providing clear standards for what activities can take place in parks and under what conditions so that users may know in advance of any activity what is allowed.

F. These rules provide the opportunity for anyone to obtain an administrative interpretation of these rules if a user is unclear of the standards and requirements and wishes to obtain an interpretation in advance of engaging in any conduct.

G. These rules also provide an opportunity to seek a variance from the application of the rules if the user believes their application causes unnecessary hardship or interference with a person’s ability to communicate protected speech.

H. These rules build on and supplement – but do not replace – other rules and regulations that allow specified activity in parks and similar public areas. For example, Pope Marine Building Use Regulations (Chapter 11.04 PTMC) and Chetzemoka Park Facility Use (Chapter 11.06 PTMC). Activities in public or private areas are also subject to the city’s noise ordinance (Chapter 9.09 PTMC). Activities in public or private areas can constitute public nuisances under the city’s nuisance code (Chapters 9.08 and 9.10 PTMC). Activities can be subject to traffic and criminal codes, for example, RCW 9A.84.030(1)(c), which makes intentional obstruction of vehicular or pedestrian traffic without lawful authority a misdemeanor.

I. These rules are also necessary to ensure that persons with disabilities have safe and unimpeded access to and through parks and similar places, and to comply with state and federal disabilities laws.

J. These rules define the legislative balance of placing reasonable limits on protected speech but allowing ample opportunity for persons to engage in protected speech and expression in city parks.

K. These rules are designed to protect the public health, safety, welfare and economic prosperity of the city of Port Townsend. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.020 Definitions.

A. “Busking” means to play music or otherwise perform for voluntary donations on a public space (for example, right-of-way, sidewalk, or park).

B. “Protected speech” means verbal or written communications intended to convey a noncommercial political, religious, philosophical or other similar message to the public, and includes distributing literature, seeking petition signatures, picketing, demonstrating, carrying or displaying signs, billboards, posters and similar messaging, artistic performance, or other activities recognized by the courts as entitled to protection under federal or Washington constitutions.

C. “Public space” means any part of a park or open space that is not privately owned and that is owned, controlled, managed or operated by the city and available for use by the public.

D. “Use” means the exercise of dominion or control over or occupation of all or part of a public space. It includes construction, storing, erecting, placing upon, or maintaining, operating any inanimate thing or object in, upon, over, under any public space. “Use” includes the placement of a table, equipment, or other similar object. “Use” does not include the placement of an inanimate object in such a location and for such a limited duration of time that, under the circumstances, no reasonable persons could conclude that the public’s right to use or enjoy the public space, in whole or in part, had been or potentially could have been interfered with. For a park, “use” does not include a person’s or group of persons’ placement of a picnic basket or blanket or similar objects within a park for the person’s or persons’ enjoyment while at the park, since no reasonable persons could conclude that the public’s right to use or enjoy the public space, in whole or in part, had been or potentially could have been interfered with by such normal park uses. “Use” includes busking if the busker places objects on the public space (for example, guitar case) and leaves it there in a manner that meets the definition of “use” above. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.030 Rules of conduct.

Certain park use and activity is allowed pursuant to city regulation and permit (for example, weddings and parties or events permitted by Chapter 11.06 PTMC, Chetzemoka Park Facility Use).

The following rules of conduct apply to park use and activity where no city permit or variance has been obtained. These rules apply to all persons, including those engaged in any of the following activities: leafleting and signature gathering, busking, carrying stick-mounted signs, posters, billboards or similar messaging, or other free speech or expressive activity.

A. No person shall treat any person in an aggressive, menacing, threatening or abusive manner that would place a reasonable person in fear for their property or personal safety.

B. Leafleting and signature gathering, busking, carrying stick-mounted signs, posters, billboards or similar messaging, and similar free speech activities shall be done in a manner that does not substantially or unduly interfere with the use of the park for the public, including those with disabilities, or that poses a safety hazard.

C. Persons wishing to carry signs must ensure that the sign meets the following requirements:

1. No sign may be larger than four square feet, and not be wider than 30 inches.

2. A sign may be attached to a stake which is no more than eight feet in length.

3. Signs may only be constructed of lightweight materials such as cloth, paper, cardboard or plastic (but not including metal).

D. No person shall use (as “use” is defined in PTMC 11.01.020(D)) the park.

E. No one shall attach, lean or place any sign or structure on or against any city property without the written permission of the city.

F. No person shall make use of a loudspeaker or megaphone or other electronic sound-amplification device. Radios, amplifiers or portable audio equipment are allowed, so long as the sound is no longer clearly heard by a person with reasonable hearing at a distance of 25 feet from the source of the sound.

G. Without a permit from the city, no person may engage in commercial activity in a park. Commercial activities are activities engaged in for gain, and include but are not limited to: vending, food concessions and advertising. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.040 Administrative regulations.

A. The city manager may adopt administrative regulations that are consistent with and that further or implement the terms and requirements set forth in these rules or the ordinance to which the rules are related. This authority is in recognition that not all situations that constitute substantial and unreasonable interference with park use or that constitute a safety hazard can be anticipated or covered by an ordinance or set of rules, and there may be situations where the city manager needs to act administratively before the city council can act.

Before adopting an administrative regulation, the administrative regulations shall be reviewed with the mayor (or in the mayor’s absence, the deputy mayor), city manager and city attorney.

B. Administrative regulations shall be kept on file with the city clerk, and shall be available on request by a member of the public for inspection or copying. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.045 Event and temporary use permits.

In issuing any event permit or temporary use permits for use of a park or any public space, the chief of police (or designee) may establish conditions and restrictions for the event or use that restrict others’ use of the area set aside for the event or use. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.050 Variance.

A. Any person may apply in writing to the city manager (or designee) for a variance from the requirements of this chapter and these rules, or any administrative regulations, or event or temporary use permit conditions. The person making the request shall include his or her name, address, and other contact information, provide information reasonably related to the request showing a basis for variance or departure from the requirements and, if the variance relates to free speech or expressive activity, why the speech or expressive activities that are restricted by this chapter or otherwise are not reasonable or sufficient to enable the person to communicate the person’s message. The city manager may attach conditions to any variance that are consistent with the purposes of this chapter and these rules. The city manager shall provide a written response to the request for variance as soon as possible, and no later than one business day following the request.

B. Any applicant for a variance may appeal the decision of the city manager by filing a written request to the hearing examiner within five days of the date of the city manager’s written decision. The hearing examiner shall issue a decision within five business days of the request. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.060 Interpretation.

A. Any person may apply in writing to the city manager (or designee) for an interpretation of the requirements of these rules or the ordinance to which the rules are related, including, to interpret the scope, intent or meaning of any provision of the chapter or these rules, or any administrative regulations, or event or temporary use permit conditions. The city manager shall provide a written response to the request for interpretation as soon as possible, and no later than one business day.

B. Any applicant for an interpretation of the requirements of these rules or the ordinance to which the rules are related may appeal the decision of the city manager by filing a written request to the hearing examiner within five days of the date of the city manager’s written decision. The hearing examiner shall issue a decision within five business days of the request. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.070 Violations – Park exclusion.

Repealed by Ord. 3182. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.080 Trespass.

Repealed by Ord. 3182. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).

11.01.090 Enforcement – Violations.

Repealed by Ord. 3182. (Ord. 3092 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014).